This is what our galaxy would look like if we could travel beyond it. (Well, it might take a few hundred thousand years at light speed to get to a good viewpoint like this…) Our Sun is about 3/4ths the way out from the center.
Barred Spiral Milky Way
A recent survey of stars conducted with the Spitzer Space Telescope is convincing astronomers that our Milky Way Galaxy is not just your ordinary spiral galaxy anymore. Looking out from within the Galaxy’s disk, the true structure of the Milky Way is difficult to discern. However, the penetrating infrared census of about 30 million stars indicates that the Galaxy is distinguished by a very large central bar some 27,000 light-years long.
Survey Credit: GLIMPSE Team